With just under a quarter of homeowners (24%) choosing to downsize*, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) offers advice for those moving to a smaller property.
Jan Hӱytch, President of the NAEA, said: “It is clear that downsizing is on the minds of many and if this process is carried out in the correct way it can be hugely beneficial to a homeowner. The appeal of owning a potentially mortgage-free property or lower energy bills can be key considerations, particularly for ‘empty nesters’ who find themselves no longer needing a larger home.
“Downsizing can also be a perfect opportunity for homeowners to raise capital, prioritise what’s important and get rid of any unnecessary clutter.”
The NAEA’s top tips for those looking to downsize are as follows:
Remember you are moving in as well as moving out:
Nothing is less welcoming than moving into a new property with no gas or electricity. Be sure to check with the agent and get the details of the previous utility providers so you can set up new accounts. Also, make sure that your phone and broadband services are ordered prior to moving in as these can take a few weeks to be activated.
Remember to redirect important mail to your new address and also leave forwarding details so you don’t miss out on any post.
Plan what to bring with you:
As with any move, it’s always hard to choose what to take and what to leave behind, but this is especially true of downsizing. Planning well in advance can make packing less stressful. Be clever how you organise the contents in boxes so that you have all the items for one room in the same few boxes. Don’t forget to label the boxes for the relevant rooms in your new home. This can make unpacking at the other end a much more pleasant experience.
Another useful tip is to measure your furniture, and use floorplans of your new property to work out how it will all fit. You don’t want to turn up to your new home to find out your sofa or bed is the wrong shape for a particular room.
Decide what to do with the rest:
Planning in advance gives you a great opportunity to focus on exactly what you want in your new home and what you should get rid of. Your local National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers (NAVA) auctioneer will be able to advise you on how best to go about it, and could even organise a full clearance for you, for the sale or disposal of all the things you don’t want to take with you.
Depending on your move date, consider putting some items in storage to allow you time to settle into your new property and to decide if you need those additional items.
Make the most of your new home:
Steer away from arranging your new rooms like those in your previous house. Instead, think carefully about potential new layouts and consider built-in storage, sofa beds and fitted wardrobes to maximise space. Your new house may be more compact, but by considering these options you can get the most out of the space available.
Also remember to check the EPC of a property before you buy, as small doesn’t necessarily mean efficient. A reduction in energy bills can be a positive consequence of downsizing, and this should certainly be factored into any decision.
Ask the professionals:
To get the most up-to-date information about moving home or specifically about options for downsizing, consult a local NAEA agent. Members of the NAEA are experienced, qualified and licensed, and can be found at www.naea.co.uk. The input of a professional agent can help simplify the buying and selling processes.
* Figures from the NAEA’s September 2013 market report: http://www.naea.co.uk/property-guides/property-market-reports/